The market is up 7. SFE Futures were up 43 this morning.
Dow Jones up 136. The Dow was up 177 at best on the release of some upbeat economic numbers. The ISM manufacturing report was up from 51.5 to 51.7, new orders balance up from 52.3 to 54.2, and the ADP employment gains came in at 158,000 in October; this was the strongest monthly reading in jobs since February. The Conference Board consumer confidence reading came in at 72.2 for October; this was the best reading since February 2008. Global markets were also pleased with the latest PMI reading coming out of China, 50.2 up from 49.8 (expansion). Company earnings were mixed with ExxonMobil up 0.47% after reporting a 7% decline in profits for the third quarter and drug maker Pfizer finished down 1.3% with a 14% fall in net income.
European markets mixed — UK FTSE up 1.37%, German DAX up 1.03%, France up 1.35%, Spain up 0.55%, Italy up 1.72% and Greece was down 5.00%. The All Saints Day Holiday across Europe saw volume low. Lloyds up 8.3% after saying that the amount it pays out each month to settle payment protection insurance claims fell to 250 million pounds in the September quarter. The Stoxx Europe 600 index up 1.3% with Technology (+1.8%), Financials (+1.6%) and Industrials (+1.4%). The Greek market down 5.00%, as that country’s coalition government continued to tiff over austerity measures needed to lock in the new round of much-needed bailout cash. Greece’s benchmark ASE Index over the week to date is down around 13%. Adding to market disquiet was news that the Greek Supreme Court of Audit had concluded that planned pension cuts might be unconstitutional.
- PPI rose 0.6% in the Sep Q but was below an expected 1% rise.
- Qantas Airways (QAN) – AGM – The airline said at their AGM today that they would begin paying dividends as soon as possible after shareholders have not received any payments for the past 3 years due to higher fuel costs and the losses at their international arm. The company said their 5 year turnaround plan will help return the airline to profitability along with the new partnership with Emirates. But the company has cut 2800 jobs in the 12 months. QAN is up 0.39% to 129.5c.
- Nib Holdings (NHF) – Has purchased Towers’ health insurance business in NZ for $80 million. MD Mark Fitzgibbon said “there’s one dominant player, no obvious competitive tension and the government knows budget constraints mean there must be more future private funding of healthcare.” The transaction will be funded through surplus capital and a debt facility, which takes nib’s gearing to 16%. NHF is up 4.97% to 190c.
- Westfield Group (WDC) – 3rd Q update – The Company said their US shopping centres have escaped major damage from hurricane Sandy. The trading update showed comparable specialty retail sales growth in the 12 months to September 30 was 1.2% in Australia, 1.8% in NZ, 8.4% in the US and 14.5% in Brazil. The company is expecting to begin new developments in 2013 worth $1.25 billion-$1.5 billion. Westfield has confirmed their forecast of a 49.5c distribution per security in 2012. WDC is up 0.28% to 1062c.
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